Wikipedia defines massage as:
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or a massage device. Depending on the application and technique used, massage is used to promote relaxation and well-being, and is beneficial in treating injuries and other problems affecting the musculature of the body such as postural misalignment and many painful conditions.
We say, happiness is…a really good massage!
Best 23 Message Therapy Techniques That Can Make You Feel Wonderful
The chair massage is a great way to reap the benefits of massage therapy when you’re short on time. While the fully clothed clients sit in a specially designed chair, they will benefit from somatic techniques such as trigger point therapy, Swedish massage and shiatsu along with bodywork. Chair massage focuses on the neck, shoulders, arms and back. If you can spare about 10- 30 minutes for a session, this is an amazing way to get all the benefit s of a massage.
Craniosacral therapy uses a noninvasive, gently technique to enhance and evaluate the function of the craniosacral system. This is a physiological body arrangement that contains membranes and cerebrospinal fluid around the brain to protect it and the spinal cord. When this system is off balance or dysfunctional it can cause motor, sensory and neurological problems such as eye issues, chronic pain, learning disabilities, motor coordination difficulties, scoliosis and other problems related to the central nervous system. This technique promotes the natural healing mechanisms of the body to improve the central nervous system function, relieve stress, help the body to embrace better health, fight disease, decrease anxiety, reduce pain, help recover from surgery or injury and improve sleep. When balancing and healing these properties, the results provide increased energy, better emotional and physical well being and relaxation.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage focuses on the deep tissue of the fascia and muscle also known as connective tissue. The therapist massages to relieve muscle tension and release knots also referred to as adhesions. It can also aid in injury rehabilitation, chronic pain and contracted areas such as lower back, shoulders and stiffness in the neck. Typically, this technique tends to be more intense, but should not cause any pain. Communication regarding intensity and pressure with your therapist during deep tissue massage is very important so they can adjust their technique accordingly. Usually this type of massage is combined with other techniques.
Foot reflexology is an ancient Chinese therapy involving manipulation of certain reflex areas in the foot that go along with other body parts. An application of pressure is applied to the reflex points to stimulate organs and decrease areas of congestion. Its principles are like those of acupressure working with the body’s flow of energy to promote self healing and balance in physical function. This type of therapy can provide relaxation; reduce stress while stimulating lymphatic fluids and blood circulation. This technique is especially useful in emotional disorders and stress related illnesses.
Gua Sha is another Chinese technique that means scraping of toxins. Using a flat tool to scrape the skin it promotes pain relief, circulation of the blood while removing toxic blood, heat and lymph from the body. To further improve blood circulation, increase deep cleansing and open pores, herbs and olive oil are used directly to the skin.
Hot Rock Massage
Hot rock massage was derived from Sweden using heated basalt stones. It is used to help relax tight areas within the body by the heat of the stone penetrating into deep layers of connective tissue and muscle. Using the heated stone as a natural extension of their hand, the therapist glides the stone over the tense areas. The heat from the rock quickly allows the muscles to relax as the therapist continues to work deeper to promote the exchange of lymph and blood to reduce pain in affected areas. This technique will leave you feeling worry free and completely relaxed.
Jin Shin Do
Jin Shin Do is a combination of deep, yet gentle finger pressure applied to acu-points to relieve emotional and physical tension. The depth of pressure is determined by the client while the therapist promotes a trance-like state to allow the client to get in touch with their body and acknowledge emotions or feelings that are directly related to their physical condition. While lying on their back, the therapist holds local points affected by tension along with related distal points to help the tense areas release easier and more deeply.
This technique of acupressure is highly effective in relieving stress, headaches, fatigue, shoulder and back pain, menopausal and menstrual imbalances, eye strain, gastro intestinal issues, allergies and sinus pain.
LaStone therapy uses thermotherapy principles while applying cold marble stones and hot basalt stones. The combination of hot and cold stones provides alternately re-energizing and sedative responses of the body. Self healing is assisted by the vascular ups and downs of the circulatory system.
By alternating the hot and colds stones it brings the body into a self healing process rapidly exchanging the oxygen and blood while alternating up and down the respiration rate promoting the body to seek homeostasis. The heat of the basalt stones deeply penetrate allowing the muscles to relax which in turn allows the therapist to work deeply aiding in relieve of pain and a deep sense of relaxation. The cold marble stones help with inflammation and getting blood to flow out of the affected areas.
Lomi-Lomi uses two hands, the forearm and elbow to make broad strokes over a large area. This massage is similar to Swedish techniques in many aspects. As an integral part of this method, Lomi-Lomi combines prayer and the knowledge that a higher power exists. Aunty Margaret Machado, a teacher of this technique, describes Lomi-Lomi (also known in Hawaiian as rub rub) as the “loving touch; a connection between heart, hand and soul with the source of all life”.
Lymphatic massage focuses on flushing the entire lymph system by using light touches in a specific pattern. To prevent disease it is important to keep the vessels and lymph glands free of congestion and remain healthy; it can increase movement by 200-300%. It promotes the reduction of fluid retention, supports the immune system and removes toxins. This massage is perfect during the change of seasons or anytime you feel your immune system has been compromised as it can strengthen and quickly help to recover from illness.
Myofascial massage works with fascia to focus on reducing pain, restoring movement and producing an effect upon the soft tissue. Layer by layer, the therapist employs soft tissue using dry hands or small amounts of oil by pinching, stretching, kneading and rolling over the areas. Because fascia is the connective tissue for all bones, nerves, organs and muscles, breakdown within the fascia can cause pain and other sites throughout the body to breakdown as well. When releasing the fascia, the muscles are easily massaged to increase motion and release pain. This massage is highly effective to relieve back pain, fibromyalgia, cervical pain, restriction of motion, headaches, chronic pain, neurological dysfunction and scoliosis.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are areas of muscle that can produce pain and other neurological sensations when compressed. Trigger points can happen due to poor posture, injury, emotional stress or repetitive motion. This therapy is offered to reduce dysfunction and muscular pain by applying pressure to the trigger points. As the therapist releases the tension of the muscle, the client’s feedback is vitally important regarding their comfort level. The results of trigger point therapy are hopefully to interrupt the cycle of pain in that specific area.
Part of the Thai massage is to take the client’s body through stoic yoga stretches. While the client is fully clothed in loose, comfortable clothing, lying on a mat, the therapist uses their body weight to work the energy lines with rhythmic compressions, deep stretches and gently rocking using their feet, forearms palms, elbows and/or thumbs. This type of massage can release muscle deep within the body making it highly effective to reduce tension and pain. Most people find this technique to be both energizing and relaxing.
Swe-Thai massage is a head to toe, highly therapeutic massage using special techniques to reduce strain and stress on the body. This massage uses a combination of advanced and specific soft tissue Thai style stretching and techniques to maximize results. You will get effective results for back and neck disorders, deep relaxation and increased flexibility. The combination of the two forces produces the desired pressure while putting minimum to no stress on the therapist’s body.
Swedish massage is one of the most well known and commonly taught massages using a variety of massage techniques with oil to reduce friction on the skin, such as kneading, broad strokes, percussive, rolling, tapping movements and vibration. There are many benefits to a Swedish massage; increases circulation, relaxes muscles, stretches the tendons and ligaments, stimulates the nervous system and skin while simultaneously relaxes the nerves, removes metabolic waste shortening recovery time from muscular strain and feeling of overall well being. As it also reduces physical and emotional stress, it often is a part of an ongoing program for stress management and overall health and wellness.
Sports massage is geared toward athletes to maximize their physical conditioning and performance. By using specific strokes, it can increase mobility, endurance and power before and after exercise or an event. It can also be beneficial to those that are very physical at work; as it increases the range of motion, quicken the healing process, reduces swelling, pain, bruising and adhesion. Similar to some techniques used in the Swedish massage but will include more soft tissue techniques, deep tissue and stretching. Anyone that regularly maximizes their physical limits through movement can benefit from a sports massage.
Soft Tissue release
Soft tissue release or STR is typically used for treatment of injury such as whiplash injuries and chronic low back pain. It addresses the reasons for nerve entrapment, subsequent referred pain and dysfunction of the soft tissue. When acute conditions are present, STR affects the dangerous way scar tissue forms and with chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic and attached mass of scar tissue to allow the muscle to return to its resting length. Once this takes place, the release from pain is immediate directed by the inflammation response. With the client in a specific position, the muscle starts to stretch in a very specific plane or direction. As soon as the location of injury is found a determined pressure is applied directly to the affected tissue. Simultaneously, the client is asked to engage the injured area. Under a pinpoint of pressure, immediately, range of motion is increased and pain is decreased.
Reiki uses gentle hands on touch drawing upon universal life forces for healing. During a Reiki healing session, the therapist, serving as a life force also referred to as ki or chi, places their hands just above or on the client’s body to start the healing energy. This can be very effective for relaxation and to manage stress. All through focused energy, Reiki can beneficial for chronic conditions that can be debilitating.
Raindrop therapy is a combination of massage, hot packs and essential oils.
To kill the viral agents to bring the body into electrical and structural alignment, antimicrobial oils are used to reduce inflammation. The oils which consist of oregano, thyme, basil, peppermint, cypress and wintergreen are dropped on the body like rain drops while massaged along the vertebrae. This method of therapy boosts the immune system, aids in detoxification and affords balance to the body.
Quantum touch therapy is a subtle approach to gain proper alignment of the body using hands on technique. The theories behind this technique consist of breath, innate body intelligence, attention and intention. To start the body’s own healing process, various meditations and breathing techniques along with a light touch are used.
Paraffin dip utilizes moisturizing emollients and heat to allow warm paraffin
to infuse the skin. This will open pores, soften the skin and increase circulation. The deep heat penetrates the skin to relieve arthritic pain, muscle spasms, joint stiffness and tendonitis. The client can choose hand and/or feet dips and it is a pleasant addition to a typical massage or even on its own.
Prenatal massage therapy uses techniques that are specific in the reduction
of discomfort due to pregnancy and can also heighten the emotional and physiological well being of both mother and fetus. Prenatal massage is a natural, safe method to relieve common issues such as lower back pain, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, swelling of extremities and shoulder and neck tension. Other benefits of prenatal massage are lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation and reduction of stress on weight bearing joints. This massage can be helpful both while pregnant and during the postpartum period. Typically it is advised to wait until the second trimester prior to getting a massage. It is also recommended to speak with your healthcare provider before getting a massage.
Neuromuscular therapy, also known as NMT, is an extensive program manipulating soft tissue to balance the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. NMT is helpful for those who experience biomechanical dysfunction and distortion. This massage will also find and release spasms, rebuild strength of injured tissues, help with lymphatic and venous flow, eliminate trigger points that cause pain, increase flexibility to tissues, proper bio-mechanical and restore proper postural alignment. By interrupting the pathways, NMT can dramatically increase strength and vital life energy, increase balance and flexibility, improve circulation of muscles that are in a deep level and improve overall health on many levels.